Hip-Hop

Lil Nas X Chronicles His Turbulent Road to Fame in Revealing 'Life Story' TikTok Series

Lil Nas X pulled back the curtain on his battle with depression and suicidal thoughts during his rocket ride to fame in his new "Life Story" TikTok series. "In 2017 I became the first [in] my family to get into college,” reads the caption of the first video, which appears to show Lil Nas in his pre-fame days as a college student in his dorm room. "During college I was depressed, had no friends and…. my grandmother passed. I started going to the doctor a lot in fear that I would die soon… hypochondria. In May 2018, I started making music.”

The clip, synched with the moody Radiohead track "Decks Dark" from 2016's A Moon Shaped Pool, explains that the rapper then moved in with his sister, dropped out of school and released his first mixtape, Nasarati, in June 2018. "THINGS WERE GOING GREAT! Then they werent...." he writes, noting that his sister kicked him out, a brother who was helping him joined the military and his songs were no longer putting up numbers or making much impact.

So, in November of that year he moved in with his older brother into a situation where he says there was "domestic violence everyday." The one-minute clips consists of a series of Lil Nas' signature selfie videos, with part two kicking off with the Dec. 2018 release of the mega-smash that would make Lil Nas a global phenomenon, the record-breaking No. 1 hit "Old Town Road."

With literally no money to promote, the rapper used silly memes to promote the song, which helped the track chart on Apple Music and unleashed an onslaught of label deal offers that he characterized as "terrible," mostly because they were focused on the song, not him. He turned them all down and kept promoting "Road" in his own unique way and before he knew it the TikTok "Yeehaw Challenge" helped the song blow up so big that Columbia Records offered him a "great deal offer."

The second video then cuts to the rapper triumphantly walking by a sign at Columbia's offices that reads "Columbia Records Welcomes Lil Nas X." After the song charted on Billboard, Nas X released the remix of "Old Town Road" with Billy Ray Cyrus and, as chronicled in part three, things went bananas. Footage of the two performing together and Lil Nas rocking massive crowds is juxtaposed with him chronicling his rising anxiety, even as his stage outfits get a huge upgrade and he moves into his first apartment in June 2019 with his two adopted dogs and boyfriend.

"I finally had enough money to put my mom in rehab" he notes alongside a clip of him dancing with one of the pooches in his arms. "People quickly dubbed me as a 'one hit wonder,'" he laments before noting that in June 2018 he released his debut EP and the five-times platinum follow-up hit "Panini."

The fourth clip opens with Lil Nas coming out in June 2019, with the rapper noting that he gained fans, while also losing some. And, as often happens with the onrush of fame, he also got hit with his first lawsuit that summer over an old song, even as his mom was struggling in rehab and he broke up with his boyfriend. This avalanche of bad news is juxtaposed with video of Lil Nas hamming for the camera in photo shoots, being silly on the street and posing for the cover of magazines, even as "Old Town" continued to blow up and he began "spiraling."

At one point, he notes, "I found myself in a hotel room contemplating ending it all.. but I didn't." At press time part five had not yet been posted, so stay tuned...

Watch the videos below.